National Geographic : 1957 Apr
504 Maynard Owen Williams "Not a Penny More!" The Author Bargains with Young Indonesians for a Pet Cockatoo Dr. Mann, on a National Geographic-Smithsonian expedition in 1937, circled the world in search of zoo animals. He bought this rose-crested cockatoo on the island of Ceram. The bird, which "spoke" Malay, soon added English. For years his shrill command, "Open the door, Richard," has delighted zoo visitors. port it, caged, to the nearest railroad line.* And when we lured a pygmy hippo of Li beria into a pitfall in 1940, our bearers had to lug the 400-pound creature through swamp and forest for 40 miles to our base camp-a journey, I feel confident, neither they nor the hippo would ever care to repeat. Even after you get an animal aboard ship, you are likely to discover that your problems have just begun. Once I was bringing a tapir down Bolivia's Beni River in a motor launch with a whistle-happy captain. Whenever he rounded a bend, neared a landing, or felt an urge to express himself, he blew the whistle and the tapir jumped overboard. We finally worked out an agreement with the captain: If he sensed the impulse to toot coming over him, he would notify us in ad- vance, and we would lock the tapir up until the crisis had passed. On another trip I was bringing back a dragon that hailed from the island of Komodo in Indonesia. Oh, well, a dragon lizard, if you insist-a fine specimen more than seven feet long. At any rate, three days out, a sea man rushed up to me and shrieked, "Lizard loose, Master! Lizard loose!" I was somewhat concerned. I couldn't tackle this carnivorous character by myself, and the crew, as one man, declined to assist. I didn't believe the lizard would devour any of the passengers, but I was afraid he would gobble his way through the precious consign * See "Stalking the Great Indian Rhino," by Lee Merriam Talbot, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, March, 1957.